In 2018, FICO, Experian and Finicity launched the new UltraFICO score. The goal of UltraFICO is to expand credit access and give consumers more control in the credit scoring process, and it considers more factors that can help nontraditional borrowers get the credit they deserve.
If you feel like traditional credit scores don’t apply to you and you wonder if the UltraFICO score might help you get the credit you need, keep reading to learn more.
What is UltraFICO?
At its core, the UltraFICO score is just another credit score. However, the way this newer score is determined aims to expand credit access to consumers who may have had trouble achieving a regular FICO credit score in the past.
According to updated information from the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), the UltraFICO may be especially relevant to consumers whose credit scores typically fall right under a lender’s cut off range, or those with traditional credit scores in the high 500s or low 600s. This can include consumers who are new to credit and have a limited credit history, but it can also include those who may have made credit mistakes in the past.
“This changes the whole dynamic of the lender and customer relationship,” said Jim Wehmann, executive vice president of Scores at FICO in a news release. Wehmann went on to say that the score “empowers consumers to have greater control over the information that is being used in making credit risk decisions” while enabling “a deeper dialogue between the consumer and lenders to help both parties make better financial decisions.”
How does UltraFICO work?
Where the traditional FICO scoring model considers five main factors-payment history (35 percent), amounts owed (30 percent), length of credit history (15 percent), new credit (10 percent) and credit mix (10 percent)-to come up with your FICO score, the UltraFICO considers a range of details normally overlooked by traditional scoring methods. This includes your banking information, which can be used to show a positive history of money management.
Specifically, UltraFICO scores take several banking factors into consideration, including:
- The length of time your bank accounts have been open
- Frequency of your banking transactions
- How recently you’ve made banking transactions
- Evidence you frequently have cash on hand
- History of positive account balances
If you don’t have traditional credit reporting from loans or credit cards, it’s easy to see how the UltraFICO score could benefit you. After all, this score lets you use your checking and savings account information to show you maintain a balance in your accounts, and that you’re making regular banking transactions, like deposits and bill payments.
According to FICO, 70 percent of U.S. consumers with “sound financial behavior” in their checking and savings accounts would receive an UltraFICO score that is higher than their regular FICO credit score.
Who should opt into UltraFICO?
Consumers who have a low FICO score, or no credit score at all, should consider utilizing the UltraFICO score. Fortunately, applying to receive an UltraFICO score when one becomes available is a simple process. All you have to do is head to the UltraFICO website and enter some basic contact information like your name, your email address and your phone number.
What’s the difference between UltraFICO and Experian Boost?
If you’re trying to find ways to show a higher credit score, you can also look into a product called Experian Boost, which calculates credit scores using the FICO 8 credit scoring model. Using Experian Boost is free, and you should be able to use this program to show a better score in a short amount of time.
While Experian Boost isn’t a type of credit score per se, this program lets you receive credit reporting on nontraditional bills, like phone and utility bills. You also receive free credit monitoring and credit alerts when you sign up.
How to improve your credit score
Applying for an UltraFICO score may help you qualify for the credit you need, but there are other ways you can boost your credit history so you can show better credit using traditional scoring models. While building credit can take time, the best ways to improve your credit score include paying your bills on time and avoiding situations where you’re maxing out credit on revolving credit accounts. Also make sure you don’t open or close too many accounts, and that you keep older accounts open since they help you increase the average length of your credit history.
Another step you can take is figuring out whether you can improve your credit mix, which is a factor that considers the different types of credit you have. If you want the chance to build credit in a new way, for example, you can always start out with a credit card for bad credit or a secured credit card that requires a cash deposit as collateral. While putting down a deposit doesn’t sound ideal, secured credit cards are easy to get approved for, and they help you build credit since your payments are reported to the three credit bureaus.
The bottom line
The UltraFICO credit score is newer on the scene, but it stands to help consumers who have had trouble building traditional credit but are otherwise trustworthy when it comes to paying their bills. Consider signing up for this score if you think it might help you qualify for the credit you need, but also look for ways to build credit using traditional methods. With enough positive history and responsible use of the financial tools available to you, you’ll eventually build the credit you need to live the life you want.
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What To Do When You’re Rejected For A Mobile Phone Contract
By Harriet Meyer
Many mobile phone contracts don’t require you to pay a penny upfront – even for the latest smartphone. Instead, you commit to regular payments over, say, 18 or 24 months.
But, just like other credit applications, such as for a mortgage or loan, you could be rejected for a mobile phone contract if you have a bad credit rating.
Here, we consider why you might find yourself in this frustrating position and – most importantly – what you can do about it.
Why was my contract application rejected?
It’s usually the first question on everyone’s lips when they have been turned down for credit. And the answer is that, essentially, the provider has checked your credit report and determined that you’re a high-risk customer who may fail to pay off your debt.
Providers use the information on your credit file to assess your history of managing money. So, if you’re rejected, this could be for one of the following reasons, or a combination of these:
- A history of late or missed bill payments, causing providers to see you as financially stretched, or someone who struggles to manage money
- Holding an account in joint names with someone who has a poor credit history
- You’re not registered on the electoral roll, so a provider may not be able to verify your identity and address
- County Court Judgements (CCJs) against your name, or Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) on your credit record, indicating that you could face financial trouble
- Lack of credit history – you need some history of making regular payments to build up your credit history, and show that you can manage regular debt payments.
How can I check my credit score?
If you genuinely have no idea why you have been rejected, it’s worth checking your credit report. This way, you can find out what the provider was looking at when it decided not to offer you a contract.
You can do this at one of the three main credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit). Experian offers a free service that enables you to sign up and check your credit score for a general overview. ClearScore is another free service that uses Equifax data.
The way credit scores are calculated varies between the different agencies, but they give providers an idea of how reliable you may be when you’re signing up for a contract.
What can I do if I’m rejected?
Remember that any financial contract is a commitment – so if you’re rejected, consider if it’s sensible to be signing up at all, particularly if you’re battling with other bills.
But whatever you do, avoid applying for a string of mobile phone contracts in the hope of being accepted. Each one will involve a credit search and leave a mark on your file, which could impact on your ability to get future credit, such as a mortgage.
The good news is there may be other options available which means you can still get a new phone or upgrade.
Find out more about your credit report with our guide.
Pay a deposit. The network provider may get around you having a poor credit history by asking you to pay an upfront deposit for the contract to offset any risk that you fail to make payments.
The amount of deposit will vary depending on your credit status, the package and the provider. You typically receive the deposit back once you’ve made several months’ worth of payments – typically ranging from three to 12 months.
Choose a SIM-only tariff. If you’re willing to buy a handset upfront, or already have an old phone you can use, you could opt for a pay monthly SIM-only deal. These are cheaper than full-blown contracts as you’re not receiving and paying for a phone as part of the deal.
You will still have a credit check, but you’ve got a greater chance of being accepted as payments are typically lower for these contracts, so there’s less risk for the provider.
Also, paying your monthly SIM-only bill on time will help show that you can sensibly manage a contract, which may boost your credit score over time.
Opt for a pay-as-you-go deal. If you want a phone for occasional use, then a pay-as-you-go deal might suit. Once you’ve bought a phone upfront, you pay for credit as and when needed. You won’t be tied into a contract, and will not be subject to a credit check.
Get a ‘bad credit’ contract. There are specialist companies which supply phone contracts to people with bad credit. You can do an online search to get an idea of what’s available, or speak to an adviser in a mobile phone store.
However, you may not be able to get the phone model you want, and your monthly payments may be substantially higher than for a standard contract. This is not an option to be taken lightly.
Check out family deals. You may want to ask a family member with a good credit rating to sign up to the contract. That’s if you’re opting for a family deal, when several lines may be connected to a single contract – but only one person pays the bill and undergoes a credit check.
Get a guarantor. Alternatively, you could ask someone to essentially guarantee your contract by co-signing it. But, of course, they must be comfortable being liable for any missed payments, thereby offsetting the risk for the network provider in case you default. Provided you make payments on time, this option can also gradually improve your credit rating.
Improve your credit score. To improve your chances of being accepted for a mobile phone contract or any other form of credit in the future, you can take time to improve your credit score by, for example:
- Registering on the electoral roll with your local authority
- Ensuring you don’t fall behind with monthly repayments on any bills (set up direct debits to pay them automatically)
- Sticking within your credit limit on any cards that you use and clearing the balances every month
- Check your credit report (see above) and if you find any errors, ask the agency to amend them with a ‘Notice of Correction’
Upstart vs. Sofi: Which Personal Loan Is Right for You?
Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders, all opinions are our own.
If you’re looking for a personal loan, you’ll likely come across Upstart and SoFi. Both companies offer flexible loans for a variety of purposes, but there are some differences to keep in mind when deciding between them.
Here’s a comparison of Upstart vs. SoFi to help you choose. Both Upstart and SoFi are Credible partners.
|Fixed rates||8.13% – 35.99% APR4||5.99% – 18.83% APR|
|Loan amount||$1,000 to $50,0005||$5,000 to $100,000|
|Loan terms||3 to 5 years4||2 to 7 years|
|Min. credit score||600
(in most states)
|Does not disclose|
|Time to fund||As soon as 1 – 3 business days6||3 business days|
|Origination fee||0% to 8% of loan amount||None|
|Income||$12,000||Check with lender|
|Residency||Available in all states except IA and WV||Available in all states except MS|
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Upstart personal loans
Founded by ex-Googlers, Upstart’s artificial intelligence platform fully automates 58% of its personal loans. It has originated $6.9 billion in loans and notably offers loans to those with less-than-perfect credit.
Upstart offers personal loans for a variety of uses — including debt consolidation loans, wedding loans, and more. You can borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as $50,000 and can expect fast loan funding.
Learn More: Personal Loan vs. Credit Card
- Lower minimum credit score: Upstart offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. If you’re looking for bad credit personal loans or fair credit personal loans, Upstart could be a good choice.
- No prepayment penalties: You don’t have to worry about any fees if you pay off your loan early.
- Fast funding: If your application is accepted, you’ll likely get your money within just a few business days. In fact, Upstart says that 99% of applicants get their money after just one business day.
- Low minimum borrowing amount: You can borrow as little as $1,000 with Upstart, which could be helpful if you only need a small loan.
- Lower maximum loan amount: With Upstart, you can only borrow up to $50,000. This could make it harder to fund larger debt consolidations or bigger home improvements.
- High origination fees: With Upstart, you might pay an origination fee of up to 8% of the loan amount.
- No options for visa holders: Upstart doesn’t offer personal loans for visa holders — you must have a Social Security number to borrow with this lender.
Check out our Upstart personal loans review to learn more.
SoFi personal loans
SoFi offers a variety of financial products, including credit card consolidation loans and other types of personal loans. It also provides several perks to its members, such as unemployment protection, career coaching, and networking events.
With SoFi, you can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. Plus, SoFi personal loans come with no fees.
Learn More: How Personal Loans Impact Your Credit Score
- Large loan amounts: You can borrow up to $100,000 in unsecured funds with SoFi. This can be useful for home improvement loans, wedding loans, and other large borrowing needs.
- Discounts available: If you sign up for autopay, you can get a discount on your SoFi personal loan. You might also qualify for a discount if you’re using other SoFi products.
- Member benefits and perks: As a SoFi member, you’ll have access to additional resources, including financial planning, career coaching, and networking events. SoFi also provides unemployment protection in case you lose your job.
- Options for visa holders: If you’re a visa holder without a Social Security number, you might still qualify for a SoFi personal loan.
- Higher credit score requirements: You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan through SoFi. If you have poor or fair credit, you’ll likely need to consider other lenders.
- Higher minimum loan requirement: You’ll need to take out at least a $5,000 personal loan to borrow through SoFi. If you need a smaller loan, SoFi might not be the right choice for you.
- Longer funding time: SoFi personal loans typically take a few business days to fund. If you need a faster loan funding time, you might need to look elsewhere.
See our SoFi personal loans review for more details.
Choosing a lender for a personal loan
A personal loan could help you cover large or unexpected purchases. Before you borrow, it’s a good idea to shop around and consider as many lenders as possible to find a loan that fits your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare multiple lenders, like Upstart and SoFi, in two minutes.
Keep Reading: Where to Get a $10,000 Personal Loan
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